I remember watching “Robin Hood — Prince of Thieves” in the cinema back in 1991. I was 16 years old, and was extatic leaving the theatre. It was just the best movie ever!
But that was almost 30 years ago today! How does a movie like that hold up today, when I am slightly older and so much wiser(!?), having watched literally hundreds…even thousands of more movies?
Now, I have watched the movie several times since 1991, but it was in crappy standard definition, on small screens. So, I decided to hunt down an HD-version of the movie, and watched it on my 65-inch Samsung TV. Found it on Itunes — and as it happens, it was the extended version, which I have never seen before.
It turns out, the extended parts were mostly longer scenes featuring Alan Rickman as the sheriff of Nottingham, and the witch. While the new parts did not really improve the movie that much, Rickmans performance is one of the best parts of the movie — so that’s nice.
On those rare occasions when “Robin Hood — Prince of Thieves” is discussed, what most people remember is Kevin Costners inability to speak with an English accent. And yes, it is a bit odd to have Robin Hood speak with an odd American accent, but honestly you get used to it pretty fast. Everyone knows Costner is American anyway, right? Apparently, he did train with a dialog coach, but his endavours were not that succesfull, if stories are to be believed.
There are also rumours that the shorter theatrical version was shorter for a specific reason — Kevin Costner saw that Alan Rickmans scenes stole the show, so he managed to get reduce Rickmans scenes. If this is true or not, I don’t know. But the story goes that Rickman found the script pretty bad, and thought that the Sheriff was a boring character. So he shaped his performance in a different direction, improvising a more humorus character. Notably, the part where the Sheriff of Nottingham promises to cut out Robins heart with a spoon was a product of improvising.
So what’s the verdict then?
Well, it’s cheesy, there is no point denying it. But it is still fantastically entertaining, and to be frank much better than most of the action movies produced by Hollywood these days. It’s much more fun than Ridley Scotts version, and also superior to the other Robin Hood movie that was released back in 1991…that you have probably forgotten a long, long time ago.
And the cast is alright, but Rickman undeniably steals the show. It also stars Morgan Freeman, Mary Elisabeth Mastrantonio, Christian Slater (anyone remember him?) and…well…Sean Connery.
If you haven’t seen this, you need to. If you can stand the Bryan Adams song.